October 2012 Update
Bryan & Kim Gregory (1992)
Dear Prayer Partners,
In our May 2012 Gazette we informed of some of the challenges that severely impacted our team and how we had lost 10 team-mates to attrition in the short period of 7 months. Since then 2 short-term couples in Malumghat and a single lady (who felt that her work in BD is complete since Bangladeshis are taking the lead in her main ministry) have also resigned. As we were preparing to come to the USA for a mid-term summer vacation while launching Jon in college we had a great concern for those in Chittagong who would have to work double duty since so many were vacating ministries without reinforcements for their roles in Bangladesh. You can imagine why the email from ABWE’s Asia Area Director alarmed us. …”I am concerned that a rapid pace, fully packed home ministry does not give you the time to recover from a very stressful 2-year term of service in both of your primary ministries… given the circumstances, I will authorize an extension of your time in the USA.” We could appreciate his concern but with our team and ministries in such a vulnerable state and with Bangladeshi partners feeling so insecure over the exodus of so many, we felt that our presence on the field was more es-sential than ever before. These needs heightened our resolve to fulfill our commitments to be back in Bangladesh in August as planned. 2 weeks before our departure from Chittagong another email took the decision out of our own hands. “I am writing to communicate the need for you to plan to extend your home ministry … of at least 11 months through the end of the 2012/13 school year. ...While you will be able to engage in regular home ministry meetings, the highest priority for this furlough will be to address your needs through counseling and mis-sionary care. ...The needs require extended care and rest to heal and recover before return-ing to ministries in Bangladesh.” As he highlighted Bryan’s mother’s carcinoma diagnosis and Jonathan’s transition from our household to his first year of college, he continued, “You not only have my administrative approval to do it… but my mandate for it because of our love, value, and concern for you.” As you can imagine this sudden change of plans threw us into a tail spin. We had a very short time to find ways for ministry leadership to be covered in our absence. We would have to pay rent on both sides of the ocean at a time when we were al-ready under-supported. We would have to set up alternate plans for Tim and Kate’s school-ing. We had not scheduled any meetings with churches. etc. etc. etc. We knew we needed to submit to the authority over us, but how could all of these unplanned transitions reduce stress? How could the absence of our presence on the field when so many others were over-whelmed or hurting be helpful? And yet we could appreciate how important it is to tend to our own family needs. We made an appeal to reduce our time away to one semester. This would have us back in Bangladesh by the end of January 2013, a critical time for annual project evaluations, planning, and submitting the budgets required by the NGO Affairs Bureau in or-der to get the project approvals that allow our organization to work in Bangladesh over the next year. How thankful we were for our Asia Area Director’s supportive response. He felt that our reasons and plan to return at the end of January 2013 was a good alternative that he could approve pending review of the counseling recommendation after follow-up counseling sessions designed for missionaries serving in long-term high-stress situations. Jonathan has now attended Liberty University for 2 months. This is the newest major change for the Gregory family. We all miss Jon and were happy to spend family weekend with him last Friday through Sunday. We are delighted to see the ways Jon is growing in his independence. He loves his classes and has made some good friends. He is learning how to set boundaries for himself (particularly in the areas of finance and time management) and to balance academics, fitness, social life, and is now trying to get a part time job to reduce the need of student loans. It will be a challenge to work up to 20 hours a week and still keep his GPA high enough that he doesn’t lose his academic scholarships. As he continues to pursue God’s direction for his life he believes he should narrow his career choice to Biblical Counsel-ing. Please pray for God’s blessing on his life and clear calling for the future. After arriving in Long Island, NY it took a couple of weeks to get our car activated and road worthy from its 2-year storage. Then it was off to ABWE’s Missionary Enrichment conference in Baltimore, to Lynchburg, VA for Jon’s summer orientation, and then to Vestal, NY to connect with our church and search out housing and schooling options. God worked marvelously! In Sunday school we shared a testimony and sought prayer for each of the needs. By Tuesday we had 4 housing op-tions! After visiting 2 Christian schools in the area the Lord aligned several matters to guide that decision and by the end of the week we decided to move in with Dick, a wid-ower in our church, who was happy to enjoy family life again. It has been a mutual bless-ing as he provides a furnished place to live and we provide meals and fellowship. Trips to see family in GA, and an 8 day MK re-entry seminar for Jon kept us active till fall.
Tim & Kate were enthusiastically welcomed to the soccer teams and classes at Central Baptist Christian Academy and have quickly made new friends. Their teachers love them and they are doing exceptionally well. One class-mate already wants to visit us in BD.
Recently our landlord returned from the Middle East to live on the ground floor of our apartment bldg. in Chittagong. It seems he is trying to accelerate the plan to demolish our building and erect a high-rise in its place. Please pray he will either delay till sum-mer 2014 as planned or for a decent housing alternative for our return to the field. He also asked to move our 23 yr old van so he could park his new car in the garage. Pray for the funds needed to replace this vehicle. In those last 2 weeks on the field it was great to see my Bangla-deshi ministry partners rally around our family. “Don’t worry Bryan Bhai (brother). We will teach the courses in the Bible college. You take the time to serve your family’s needs and fulfill your home office requirement in the USA.” The Special Outreach Advisory Committee (SOAC) made plans to be more intentional with their over-sight in the fields and individuals renewed commitments to work harder to build up the house churches. Its refreshing to see this Bangladeshi team grow in spiritual maturity!
In July the SOAC welcomed a new MBB intern to the team who was commended to them by his local church. At the persistent recommendation of their churches they also restored to fellowship the 2 evangelists they disciplined last October (but did not reinstate them). Since then they continue encouragement visits to their house churches and re-joice to see renewed commitments to faithfulness and separation from false teachers.
In early August we sent you a Bangladesh Bulletin informing of the need of a math teacher for a Christian school in Spain that could free up a gifted man to come to Chitta-gong to serve as administrator at WCA. Unfortunately, no one came forward and Phil stayed on in Madrid to fulfill that commitment. The last I heard from our interim regional administrator was that if we could still find a math teacher for the Christian English-medium school in Spain, Phil might still be able to come and serve as administrator for WCA for the second semester at WCA. If you or someone you know is interested in do-ing this please let us know and we will connect you with those who are working on this.
2 families came in late summer to join the team in Malumghat but will be in Chittagong for Language school over the next 2 years. The gifts God has instilled in them are bless-ing our team and add to the effectiveness of the ministries of Chittagong International Baptist Fellowship. Pray for a wonderful enculturation and language learning experience.
Pray for 2 other young families and 2 singles raising support to come out and join the BD team. Pray that God will call out new missionaries to fill the gaps and add to the min-istry dynamic that has always made serving in Bangladesh such an exciting journey.
As WCA’s school year began an administrative team was put together utilizing present teachers to also serve in the roles of primary, middle, and high school deans. At the re-quest of the WCA board the administrator of the William Carey Free School added to her duties the role of WCA interim administrator. A few short-termers have also joined the team for the year and God is supplying the grace and strength needed for each person to fulfill their assignments. Continue to pray for endurance & blessing for this special team.
Byran & Kim Gregory
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